Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 11 Hansard (19 October) . . Page.. 4668..
order 118(b) says that they "shall not debate the subject". When they are in difficulty, they genuinely just attack the Liberal Party, which of course is debating the subject, and they do not abide by the standing order.
There are also degrees of the language which is used. I was asked to withdraw "joke"—"You're a joke"—earlier. I did it. That is okay. But the Chief Minister has used "you're a disgrace"several times today and she is never asked to withdraw these words. If there is not going to be a standard applied equally to all, of course this place will deteriorate. But if—
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Smyth. I think you have made your point.
Mr Smyth: It goes to 118(a) and (b) as well—
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Smyth. Chief Minister, Mr Seselja raises a reasonable point. I expect you to focus on answering the question and not on commenting on the members of the opposition.
MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I will adhere to your ruling in that. I would just say that it is very difficult, when you are being shouted at by six people very loudly, to not respond, but I will try. And now that the entire opposition are on a warning, I imagine that I may indeed be heard in silence.
Mr Coe: Point of order, Mr Speaker. This is not relevant to the question.
MS GALLAGHER: On to the question—
MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, I am sorry but I will have to deal with the point of order. Stop the clocks, thank you. Mr Coe, I—
Mr Coe: You did tell us that we were not to debate this issue.
MR SPEAKER: Yes.
Mr Coe: We asked her a question; she should respond to the question with relevance.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Coe. That said, on the point of order, I did also give Mr Smyth quite some space. I think it is not unreasonable for the Chief Minister to take a few seconds of her resumed answer to continue the discussion. But as she was just going to the question when you interjected, I think that it was perhaps unfortunate timing. Chief Minister, let us continue with the question.
MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. In regard to the standards required of a minister, I would say that the standards required—indeed, it is very clear from the ministerial code of conduct—far exceed the standards required of a member of this place. Indeed, in the members' code of conduct there is no requirement not to mislead or to tell the truth in the Assembly, which is something that we see a little bit happening in this place. The ministerial code of conduct sets the standard. It sets very high standards.